Saturday, February 17, 2018

Top tips to attending the Carnival in Goa

While most Catholics in India and Abroad celebrate Lent, and even the culmination of Lent to The solemn Good Friday and then a happy Easter, but very few places in India celebrate Carnival like Goa does. And while I have written about Goa carnival HERE and HERE, I still got so many messages on my Instagram this year about Carnival, that I decided to answer all of them in a new blog post .




Carnival is traditionally celebrated the weekend prior to the start of Lent on , Ash Wednesday.

Why come to Goa for Carnival?
There are plenty of reasons, but one of the main reasons is that it is always on a weekend and is one of the few times where the true 'Goan ' way of life is seen on an amplified scale. Think colourful flowery Tshirts, lots of drinking parties, live music on the streets, barbequing meats on the streets, and yes people wearing Masquerade masks.

colourful dancers ay the carnival

Shreyu at his first Carnival

The colourful float about dangers of plastic

Goa being devoured by the evil of plastic

Dont get High on Drugs, says a tableaux

underwater sea world float

a sea of people

When is it?
Google for Ash Wednesday for the calendar year you wish to come, this year Ash wednesday was on 14 Feb, and so Carnival celebrations were from 10 Feb to 13 Feb, that is from the saturday prior, to the tuesday prior to start of Lent.

Can anyone attend , or is it only for Christians?
while it is originally meant as a time of over consumption and enjoyment for the catholics prior to the almost month long period of fasting and restrictions of Lent, everyone can participate in the festivities. Infact a long time back the Church dissociated itself from Carnival celebrations, calling it not a Christian celebration, but later the state of Goa adopted the festivities and the parades , as they realised the draw of tourists. 

What is a carnival Parade?
The parades are floats depicting various social causes, and various bits of Goan life as a tableaux . The Parade begins with King Momo declaring the festivities open, and on the Saturday of the Carnival it is in Panjim, on Sunday it is in Margao, and then travels to other towns of Goa, like Mapusa, Vasco.. all the details on the route of the parade and so forth is published in the newspapers prior to the day of celebrations.
This year Carnival was before Valentines day and it and romance to the festivities

Bakeries with Poie , local bread made it to the flaot parade

Thought provoking floats about , what do you want to be when you grow up...

Men in Drag is very common sight at the Carnival Parade, some dressed as local fisher women, to even pregnant women, and sometimes even a mermaid.

did you notice my green head gear.

Garland pork sausages , indigenious to Goa made it to the float parade as well.



What apart from the parade can we see?
There are many carnival themed parties in Restaurants and Hotels, but the Parade is free of cost, also the Samba Square a live music and food street festival is sponsored by the city corporation of Panjim, and is at The Garcia De Orta garden close to the Panjim church. Also the Goa State Tourism department hosts the food and cultural festival during the same time, allowing for more options during the Carnival. also there is a sand sculpture at the Miramar beach most years.

a table laden with Carnival food treats, chicken Cafreal, Pork spare ribs, and much more

strawberry Mojitos, what a splendid idea, @clucktales

Throwback to childhood memories with goli soda, but priced at Rs 40, almost quadruple our childhood price.

fish wrapped in Banana leaves.

Gobanos or Goan Poie bread sandwiches with caramelised onions, meat of your choice, gravy, a fried egg and aioli, a scrumptious discovery at Athenaz stall
 What should one wear at the carnival?
Colourful happy clothes are perfect, also eye masks and head gear, which are easily available on the streets during the parade. On the last evening of the Carnival that is tuesday evening, Samba Square has a black and red dance, and it is a tree=at to watch everyone dressed in the red and black colours, and do wear those colours if you want to enter the dance venue . Yes, on all days of the Carnival you can dance the night away at Samba square in Panjim, and I think at other venues in the state as well. so wear comfortable shoes. If you are just a gang of colours, do not dress to attract too much attention, because many of the revellers, both from the state and outside are drunk and looking to make trouble. stay safe, and move in mixed groups, and surround yourself with family revellers.
This is my most favourite picture of this Carnival, me with Bagpipers of Goa, men dressed in Kilts, keep your eyes peeled for fun and quirky images during your visit to Goa during Carnival and you will see plenty. 

I hope you enjoyed this roller coaster ride on the Carnival streets of Goa, and if you wish to read more Posts about Goa here are a few 

Demistifying the Goan Fish Thali HERE
understanding the legend of Narkasur and the Goan Diwali celebrations HERE
Serendipity Art Festival ,, Goa HERE
International film Festival , Goa  HERE


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